Best Text Therapy Services

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products. Healthcare professionals review articles for medical accuracy. Learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Over the last decade, there’s been a rapid rise in therapy online platforms and apps, making it more convenient than ever to find and speak with a therapist virtually. Most of those companies, however, still require you to book a session with your therapist, at which point you’ll either call or talk to them live. 

Online therapy can address a variety of issues, including social anxiety and panic disorder. It's also especially effective for treating depression. However, not everyone has time for a 30- to 45-minute live session during the day. If you’re a student, a new parent basing your entire day on your newborn’s three-hour feeding schedule, or working unconventional shifts for your job, you might find it difficult to make time for therapy. That’s where text-based therapy—where you exchange messages with your phone through an app or chat platform throughout the day—can be safe and beneficial to your mental health. 

We reviewed 33 different companies with the help of user surveys. Here are the ones that came out on top for their text or messaging-based therapy services.

Best Text Therapy Services of 2022

Why Trust Us
55
Companies reviewed
5,775
Total users surveyed
350
Data points analyzed
We surveyed 105 users from each online therapy company and asked the companies to complete questionnaires. Then, we tested the services ourselves, conducted comprehensive data collection research, and evaluated our results with the help of three licensed therapists.

Best Overall : Talkspace


  • Price: $276 - $516 monthly
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: Yes
  • Type Of Therapy: Couples Therapy, Individual Therapy, Medication Management, Psychiatry, Teen Counseling
Why We Chose It

One of the first companies to enter the online therapy market, Talkspace offers unlimited messaging with a therapist matched to your needs and objectives, as well as live video and audio, and medication management services.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Unlimited messaging

  • Guaranteed therapist response within set time

  • Large network of licensed therapists

  • Several subscription plans offered

  • Medication management services are available

Cons
  • Psychiatry services are add-ons and can get expensive

  • Subscription prices vary depending on where you live

  • Your therapist conversations may be analyzed using AI

Overview

Founded in 2012, Talkspace boasts over one million users and a growing network of licensed therapists that deliver treatment via a variety of communication methods. It offers live video and audio calls, but one of the main features of its basic subscription plan is unlimited messaging with a therapist. After matching with a Talkspace therapist at sign-up, you can exchange unlimited text messages in a secure, private “room,” any time of the day—and you’re guaranteed to get a response back within a set time frame. 

All Talkspace therapists are accredited according to National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) standards. They specialize in issues such as anxiety, stress and anger management, depression, and more. 

Of the users we surveyed who had used Talkspace, 69% rated the therapy they received through Talkspace as either very good or excellent, and 65% of respondents said its value was very good or excellent for the money spent. Sixty-seven percent said they use the online chat/text messaging feature in the app to communicate with their therapist, and 89% rated the online chat feature as either very good or excellent.

A majority of the users surveyed—93%—said they were either likely or very likely to recommend Talkspace to someone like them. 

Plans & Pricing

Talkspace offers a variety of different subscription plans that range from $69 to $129+ a week, depending on where you live. All plans include unlimited messaging with your therapist, though the more expensive plans also include live sessions.

The company also offers psychiatry sessions ($249 for an initial evaluation, then $125 for every follow-up visit), relationship or couples therapy, and therapy for teens ages 13-17.

Best for Anxiety : BetterHelp


  • Price: $299 to $349 per month
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: Yes
  • Type Of Therapy: Individual Therapy
Why We Chose It

A leader in online therapy with a network of over 22,000 therapists and counselors, BetterHelp provides an easy-to-use platform and offers 24/7 messaging (as well as video and audio therapy sessions) for individuals, couples, and teens.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Monthly subscription

  • Unlimited, private one-on-one communication with a therapist

  • Offers accessibility features

Cons
  • Does not accept insurance

  • Does not provide medication management services

Overview

Founded in 2013, BetterHelp is one of the largest online therapy platforms worldwide. Its therapists specialize in specific issues such as anxiety and stress, but it also treats depression, addictions, sleeping, trauma, anger, and provides support for relationship issues.

BetterHelp offers individual, couples, and teen therapy through an easy-to-navigate app. You can communicate with your therapist via message, live chat, phone call, or video conference—all communications are offered in your subscription plan. It’s worth noting, though, that some therapists might have preferences for which communication method they prefer and they may push you to schedule a session rather than message. If this occurs, though, you can request a new therapist through the app, a process that 79% of the users we surveyed said was very easy or easy. 

Of the BetterHelp survey respondents, 72% rated the therapy they received from the platform as either very good or excellent, and 91% of respondents said it was either likely or very likely that they would recommend BetterHelp to someone like them.

The 67% of users who used online chat messaging/text messaging to communicate with their therapist also had positive responses to BetterHelp’s messaging features. Eighty-six percent rated the platform’s online chat messaging feature as either very good or excellent. 

Plans & Pricing

Unlike Talkspace, BetterHelp only offers one subscription plan and the price will vary depending on the therapist you’re matched with and where you live. Prices range from $80 to $100 a week depending on where you live, according to our research.

Best for Depression : Calmerry


  • Price: $167 for a monthly subscription (Messaging only); $207 for a monthly subscription (Messaging plus one video chat per month); $269 for a monthly subscription (Messaging plus four video chats per month)
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: No. Can provide superbill for reimbursement
  • Type Of Therapy: Couples Therapy, Individual Therapy
Why We Chose It

Calmerry’s subscription-based service connects you with a licensed mental health professional that you can message from a secure therapy space whenever you need support.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Multiple monthly subscription plans available

  • Focused on text therapy

  • Human-centered therapist matching process

  • Offers refunds if not satisfied

Cons
  • Does not accept insurance

  • Website is misleading, with pages for services not offered

Overview

One of the newer online therapy platforms, Calmerry was founded in May 2020 to address the need for affordable and accessible virtual mental health services during the pandemic. It offers three different subscription plans, all of which include unlimited messaging with your therapist.

You can communicate with your therapist or counselor via message in your own secure, 24/7 room through a secure messenger. (This is also where you’d schedule live sessions if you purchase one of the more expensive plans). You can send text messages to your therapist whenever you’d like, and you’ll get a response one to two times a day, five days a week. You also have access to extra mental health tools and resources in this same room if you want to do some self-led mental health reading. 

Calmerry, which also offers an app, chooses your therapist for you when you sign up but it allows you to switch therapists for free or cancel a subscription at any time.

Of the users we surveyed, 74% rated the service they received from Calmerry as either very good or excellent. A whopping 95% of the users surveyed also said that it’s either likely or very likely that they would recommend the platform to someone like them.

Eighty-six percent of respondents rated Calmerry’s online chat messaging feature as either very good or excellent.

Plans & Pricing

A subscription to Calmerry’s messaging therapy plan starts at $56.99 a week, though you’ll get a discounted price of $41.99 per week your first month. You can also sign up for plans that include 30-minute live video sessions, and these plans range in price from $75–$90 a month. 

Best Group Therapy : Circles


  • Price: $79 per month
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: No
  • Type Of Therapy: Peer Support
Why We Chose It

Circles surrounds you with the support you need by providing you not only with online sessions led by a dedicated therapist, but also the ability to message any other group member or the facilitator whenever you want.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Online support in small groups

  • Groups led by professional therapists

  • Unlimited messaging available

  • Several groups dedicated to specific issues

Cons
  • Does not accept health insurance

  • Doesn’t offer individual, couples, or family therapy

  • You can only join one group

  • No medication management services

Overview

Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety can intensify feelings of isolation. Group therapy can help provide the emotional support and community you need to learn coping skills and build personal resilience. Circles aims to provide this support when you join one of their groups (or “Circles) led by a professional therapist as the moderator. These therapists are trained in CBT techniques and have experience helping people with anxiety, depression, stress, and other mental health issues. 

Each Circle focuses on a specific topic, such as grief or divorce, and is made up of other members who are dealing with the same issues as you are. Each week, you can meet with them and chat with them live via video, but as part of your subscription, you can also message the group and anyone in it whenever you want. 

Circles also gives you access to bonus content, including self-help exercises and activities, blogs, and webinars.

Of the users we surveyed, 80% rated the services they received through Circles as either very good or excellent, and 73% said its value was very good or excellent for the money spent. Ninety percent said they’d recommend Circles to someone like them. 

Seventy-one percent said they used Circles’ messaging/texting features and 80% rated their experience with the online chat messaging as very good or excellent. 

Best for Flexible Communication Options : E-Therapy Cafe


  • Price: $135 to $320 per month
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: No. Offers Reimbursement Receipt
  • Type Of Therapy: Couples Therapy, Individual Therapy
Why We Chose It

Despite its small size, E-Therapy cafe is an online therapy company that offers multiple flexible and convenient ways to talk with your therapist.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Offers online journaling with therapist response

  • Has a live chat option

  • Several subscription plans available

  • You can choose your own therapist

Cons
  • Does not accept insurance

  • No medication management

Overview

E-Therapy Cafe is a boutique therapy service that was founded by a military spouse who saw the need for quality, convenient online therapy for busy people. It stands out for a number of reasons: It offers multiple subscription options that are more affordable than many of its larger competitors and some additional services such as life and wedding coaching, for example. Plus, two text-based forms of therapy are available: live messaging sessions and online journaling. 

Each subscription includes a set number of sessions per month, and while those can be done via live video if you want, you can also opt for a live text chat with your therapist if you don’t want to show your face or talk. This could be beneficial for users who prefer written communications over verbal methods or who worry about being overheard by other members of their household. The live chat sessions have to be scheduled ahead of time with your therapist, just like a video session. 

The company also offers a text-based therapy option that seems unique, at least compared to the other 32 companies we reviewed: E-Journal sessions. These sessions do not need to be scheduled and allow you to write up to 700 words to your therapist about what you’re going through or feeling that day. Your therapist will then respond in detail to what you wrote within 24 to 48 hours. 

Of our survey respondents, 77% said the services they received through E-Therapy Cafe were very good or excellent and 70% said the value for money was very good or excellent. Ninety-three percent said they’d recommend E-Therapy Cafe to someone like them. 

Seventy-seven percent of the users we surveyed used the online chat/text messaging platform at E-Therapy Cafe to communicate with their therapist; 35% used e-journaling, with 83% rating the services very good or excellent. Eighty-seven percent said their online chat messaging experience was very good or excellent. 

Plans & Pricing

E-Therapy Cafe offers three subscription plans:

  • The E-Therapy Basic Four plan includes four 30-minute sessions for $196 a month. 
  • The E-Therapy Eight plan includes eight sessions for $360 a month. 
  • You can also pay-as-you-go for sessions if you don't want to commit to a subscription. Each session costs $55. 

Best for CBT Therapy : Online-Therapy


  • Price: $200-$440 per month
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: No
Why We Chose It

Online-Therapy.com is a CBT-based online therapy company that includes text-based therapy options with all three of its subscription plans. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • CBT-based therapy

  • Option to get express replies from your therapist

  • Guaranteed daily responses from therapist

  • Multiple subscription plans available

Cons
  • Does not accept insurance

  • No medication management

Overview

Founded in 2009, Online-Therapy.com is a Swedish company that offers users quality access to therapists trained in cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, a type of therapy aimed at helping people identify and change destructive or disturbing thought patterns that influence their behavior and emotions.

The company offers three monthly subscription plans and messaging-based therapy is included in all plans. You are guaranteed daily responses from your therapist—and with the most expensive plan, you’re guaranteed express responses. 

All plans also include access to an online portal—called “The Toolbox”—where you can find a variety of self-led resources, including worksheets, journal prompts, yoga videos, and more. This feature is unique to the company—none of the other companies we reviewed offered this kind of resource. 

Of the users we surveyed, 74% said the therapy services they received from Online-Therapy.com were very good or excellent and 91% said they were likely or very likely to recommend someone like them to the company.

Eighty percent of survey respondents (more than at any other company on this list) used the online messaging/texting options offered by the company—and 90% said the online messaging service was very good or excellent. 

Plans & Pricing

Online-Therapy.com offers three subscription plans, all of which offer messaging to your therapist and daily responses from your therapist: 

  • The Basic plan: This is purely text-based therapy and costs about $40 per week. Your therapist will respond to your messages daily Monday through Friday. 
  • The Standard plan: This includes everything in the basic plan, plus weekly live sessions for roughly $60 per week.
  • The Premium plan: This includes everything in the basic and standard plan, plus two weekly live sessions and express replies for roughly $80 per week.

Best Free Resource/Text-Based Emergency Resource : Crisis Text Line


  • Price: Free
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: N/A
Why We Chose It

Crisis Text Line provides 24/7 mental health support with a crisis counselor via text message. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Free 24/7 support with a crisis counselor

  • Services available 24 hours a day

  • Services available throughout U.S., Canada, UK, and Ireland

Cons
  • No app

  • Crisis counselors are not licensed therapists

Overview

Even though some larger online therapy companies can match you with a therapist same day, you may not hear back from them right away or be able to book a therapy session right away. This is where the Crisis Text Line comes in. 

As a nonprofit, this service is free to use—just text 741741 from your phone. 

It typically takes less than five minutes to connect you with a counselor, who will introduce themselves and listen to anything you want to share. You can exchange as many text messages as you need with the crisis counselor, who will sort through your feelings by asking questions and actively listening. It’s important to remember, however, that the crisis counselor is a trained volunteer who can provide support but not offer medical advice.

The Crisis Text Line is confidential, and crisis counselors keep any shared information private and secure.

If you would rather not use SMS, you can reach Crisis Text Line on Facebook Messenger at facebook.com/crisistextline (using the send message button will connect you to a crisis counselor) or on WhatsApp by messaging 443-SUP-PORT.

Plans & Pricing

The Crisis Text Line is free to use anytime and as often as you’d like. 

Best for BIPOC/LGBTQ+ : Ayana Therapy


  • Price: $140/single sessions or $290/monthly subscription
  • Is Insurance Accepted?: No. Offers bills to submit to your insurer
Why We Chose It

Ayana Therapy focuses on providing mental healthcare for marginalized and intersectional communities, matching users with licensed therapists based on their unique experiences and identities.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Detailed and culturally sensitive questionnaire for matching with licensed counselors

  • Diverse therapist community

  • Offers both subscription and per-session options

Cons
  • Does not accept insurance

  • No medication management

Overview

Ayana Therapy was founded in 2019 to address a lack of engagement between BIPOCs and the mental health care industry stemming from barriers related to cost, stigma, and lack of cultural competency. Through a user-friendly app, the platform matches members of marginalized communities with licensed therapists and counselors based on their unique experience and identities across race, gender identity, class, sexuality, ethnicity, and ability.

Therapists on the Ayana Therapy platform have multiple areas of expertise to address a variety of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, addiction, mood disorders, PTSD, and more. Once you’re matched with a therapist or counselor, you can start using the app to communicate with them through text messaging, phone calls, and video sessions. You can text message your therapist at any time online, and you can schedule phone or video call sessions with your therapist at a time that’s convenient for you.

Sixty-seven percent of Ayana Therapy users who responded to our survey rated the service they received as either very good or excellent and 74% considered the service to be a very good or excellent value, though it's worth noting that our respondents were not necessarily representative of Ayana’s target users: 77% of the users were white; 0% were non-binary; 82% were heterosexual; and 58% had annual incomes over $100,000 annually.

Still, 72% said they used Ayana Therapy’s chat/text messaging platform to communicate with their therapist and 88% of users said they rated its online chat messaging feature either very good or excellent.

Plans & Pricing

Ayana offers an unlimited texting plan for $140 that also comes with two 30-minute phone calls. If you'd prefer a subscription, the platform offers an option starting at $290 a month that includes unlimited text messaging with your therapist plus four 30-minute calls.

Compare the Best Text Therapy Services of 2022

Overall Rating Best For
Price
Is Insurance Accepted?
Accepts Hsa Or Fsa
Type Of Therapy
Communication Options
Reset All
Talkspace Best Overall $276 - $516 monthly Yes N/A Couples Therapy, Individual Therapy, Medication Management, Psychiatry, Teen Counseling Audio, Live Chat, Messaging, Phone, Video Chat Learn More
Hide, not for me
BetterHelp Best for Anxiety $299 to $349 per month Yes N/A Individual Therapy Messaging, Video Chat Learn More
Hide, not for me
Calmerry Best for Depression $167 for a monthly subscription (Messaging only); $207 for a monthly subscription (Messaging plus one video chat per month); $269 for a monthly subscription (Messaging plus four video chats per month) No. Can provide superbill for reimbursement N/A Couples Therapy, Individual Therapy Audio, Messaging, Video Chat Learn More
Hide, not for me
Circles Best Group Therapy $79 per month No N/A Peer Support Messaging, Video Chat Learn More
Hide, not for me
E-Therapy Cafe Best for Flexible Communication Options $135 to $320 per month No. Offers Reimbursement Receipt N/A Couples Therapy, Individual Therapy Live Chat, Video Chat Learn More
Hide, not for me
Online-Therapy Best for CBT Therapy $200-$440 per month No N/A N/A Audio, Messaging, Video Chat Learn More
Hide, not for me
Crisis Text Line Best Free Resource/Text-Based Emergency Resource Free N/A N/A N/A Messaging Learn More
Hide, not for me
Ayana Therapy Best for BIPOC/LGBTQ+ $140/single sessions or $290/monthly subscription No. Offers bills to submit to your insurer N/A N/A Messaging, Video Chat Learn More
Hide, not for me

Final Verdict

Talkspace tops our list of best text therapy services. It offers unlimited messaging, in addition to live video, audio, and chat. It’s also one of a handful of online therapy companies that offer medication management services and accept insurance. However, if you’re looking for flexibility in how you communicate with your therapist (as well as lower than average prices), you might prefer E-Therapy Cafe. 

Guide for Choosing the Best Text-Based Therapy Services

What Is Text-Based Therapy?

Text-based therapy is online therapy where you communicate with your therapist via e-chat, online text messaging, or e-Journal. You exchange these messages either through an app, a messenger, or online through a client portal. These messages can be in live time or with a delay.

How Can Text-Based Therapy Services Benefit Mental Health?

Text therapy services, like online therapy more generally, can help provide those with mental health issues the support and guidance they need to address negative thoughts and feelings or take action to make positive changes in their lives.

While they may not replace face-to-face therapy services, text therapy services or apps still offer benefits to people looking for emotional support or guidance for managing stress, anxiety, depression, or other issues, especially if you have an unconventional schedule since text-based therapy is often not done in live time. You can message your therapist whenever you want, day or night.

Text-based therapy is also often more affordable, depending on the provider, allowing you to get emotional support even if you cannot afford traditional in-person therapy or online therapy plans with live video sessions. 

This type of therapy also allows you to write about how you’re feeling when you feel it, so you can reach out to your therapist when the thoughts are fresh and in the moment. Writing out your thoughts and feelings to someone, similar to journaling, can also provide a sense of relief and calm.

There are not a lot of peer-reviewed studies on text therapy services in comparison to online video therapy services. However, one study did show that text messaging-based intervention can be a safe and feasible tool to augment care for people with mental health issues. The 2020 study found that 91% of participants found text messaging acceptable, 94% indicated that it made them feel better, and 87% said they would recommend it to a friend.

Are Text Therapy Services or Apps Right for You? 

There are many advantages to text therapy, especially for those facing barriers to face-to-face therapy. Writing in a chat window, instead of seeing your therapist or counselor, can prove to be a more comfortable experience. 

Text-based therapy could also be beneficial for people who have social anxiety, sensory processing differences, are d/Deaf, or prefer to use augmentative and alternative communication rather than verbal speech. People who don't want to be overheard in their homes might also prefer this type of therapy. 

Text therapy services may not be for you if:

  • You are in an urgent crisis and need immediate help.
  • You have been diagnosed with a more severe mental illness.
  • You are required to undergo therapy either by court order or any other authority.
  • You do not have a device that connects to the internet or can download an app for text or chat messaging.

Comparing Text Therapy Services

If you’re considering trying out a text therapy service, here are some factors to consider:

  • Pricing: Some online therapy companies offer a messaging-only monthly subscription plan, which is cheaper than competitors that lump messaging in with live video sessions.
  • Therapists: How are you being matched to a therapist? Do you get to select your therapist or does an algorithm choose for you? Can you easily switch if your current situation is not working out? Do you want to work with a licensed therapist or are you willing to work with a counselor, coach, or trained listener?
  • Therapy types: Does the service you're considering offer specialize in issues such as anxiety or depression? Or is it more of an emotional support service? 
  • Cancelation policy: Does the service offer an acceptable cancelation policy?
  • Live vs. 24/7 messaging: Do you prefer to e-chat with your therapist in live time or are you okay writing to your therapist and then waiting for a response several hours (or even a day) later?

Scheduling Your First Text Therapy Session Today

When signing up for a text therapy service, one of the first steps you’ll likely take is answering a questionnaire that collects your preferences and needs to match you with a compatible therapist. Make sure to respond to all questions and add details that can ensure a good match.

Make sure you have the required technology, whether it’s downloading an app to your smartphone or tablet, or using the correct software on your computer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Do Text-Based Therapy Services Cost?

Text-based therapy is often offered as part of an online therapy subscription, which means you’re often billed weekly or monthly. The prices range quite a bit, depending on the company, but can begin as low as $80 a month. 

The good news is that many online therapy companies (such as Talkspace, Calmerry, and Online-Therapy.com) offer plans that only include text messaging with your therapist for lower prices than plans that include live sessions. 

Does Insurance Cover Text Therapy Services?

Some companies that offer messaging-based therapy do accept insurance, such as Talkspace.

Methodology

Our methodology for evaluating online and text therapy companies involved sending questionnaires to 33 companies and surveying 100 current users of each. This allowed us to directly compare services offered by gathering qualitative and quantitative data about each company and its users’ experiences.

We evaluated each company on their messaging features, including live chat messaging and text messaging, in addition to other communication features offered. We also reviewed the type of therapy offered, pricing and insurance coverage, therapist qualifications, and design and functionality of their website and app. We also looked at overall customer satisfaction, value for money, and the likelihood clients would recommend them.

Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Andersson G, Cuijpers P, Carlbring P, Riper H, Hedman E. Guided Internet-based vs. face-to-face cognitive behavior therapy for psychiatric and somatic disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysisWorld Psychiatry. 2014;13(3):288-295. doi:10.1002/wps.20151

  2. Barak A, Hen L, Boniel-Nissim M, Shapira N. A Comprehensive Review and a Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness of Internet-Based Psychotherapeutic Interventions. Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK); 2008.

  3. Wagner B, Horn AB, Maercker A. Internet-based versus face-to-face cognitive-behavioral intervention for depression: A randomized controlled non-inferiority trial. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2014;152-154:113-121. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2013.06.032

  4. Ben-Zeev D, Buck B, Meller S, Hudenko WJ, Hallgren KA. Augmenting evidence-based care with a texting mobile interventionist: a pilot randomized controlled trial. PS. 2020;71(12):1218-1224.

Edited by
Simone Scully
simone-scully-verywell

Simone is the health editorial director for performance marketing at Verywell. She has over a decade of experience as a professional journalist covering mental health, chronic conditions, medicine, and science.

Learn about our editorial process
Additional reporting by
Simone Scully
simone-scully-verywell

Simone is the health editorial director for performance marketing at Verywell. She has over a decade of experience as a professional journalist covering mental health, chronic conditions, medicine, and science.

Learn about our editorial process